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How to help people affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and the United States
(News: 10-09-2016 )



Although the full extent of Hurricane Matthew's devastation is unknown because the storm still is moving along the southeast coast of the United States, non-profit groups are mobilizing and seeking cash donations to help people affected by the powerful storm so far.

In Haiti, where the storm struck Tuesday as a Category 4, at least 800 people were killed, Reuters reported Friday after tallying deaths reported by civil protection officials. That number is expected to increase as efforts to reach affected communities continue.

It took the nonprofit Hope for Haiti about 48 anxious hours to confirm its staff of 50 people on the island were safe, said Stephanie Jepson, chief of donor experience for the Naples-based aid group.

"Those first few days, not knowing, was very difficult," Jepson said.

The powerful eye of the storm swept through Haiti's southwest peninsula and caused catastrophic damage to the area surrounding Les Cayes, which Jepson said is one of Hope for Haiti's partner communities.

Information trickling in from Haiti through shaky, unreliable lines of communication has indicated a dire need for basic supplies, such as clean water, ready-to-eat meals and tarps for shelter, she said.

Since the 2010 earthquake that crumbled many buildings in Haiti, untold numbers of people have made do living in makeshift housing, such as tents. And Hurricane Matthew caused further harm to necessary infrastructure on the island.

Hurricane Matthew damaged up to 80 percent of homes in the south, according to UNICEF estimates released Friday.

National Route 2, the bridge between Haitian capital Port-au-Prince and the southwest, collapsed.

Cash and food crops were destroyed, which could have long-term effects on the local economy, Jepson said.

"They need us now more than ever," she said. "Those seaside communities are no longer the way we knew them last week."

Hope for Haiti keeps a list of critical supplies on its website,, and is accepting donations. Hope for Haiti can use the money to purchase supplies on the island, which can speed up the recovery, Jepson said.

"We can stretch that dollar more than you know to make it count," she said.

Closer to home, One Blood is calling for blood donations to supply hospitals across the state. One Blood has a service area that includes most of Florida and parts of Georgia and South Carolina, all of which were in Hurricane Matthew's path.

Because of the storm, One Blood shut down operations on the east coast of Florida and is facing a supply shortage, said Daniel Eberts, a spokesman for the nonprofit organization.

One Blood needs all blood types but has a severe shortage of platelets, plasma, O negative and O positive blood.

There are brick-and-mortar donation centers that will be open Saturday in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and appointments can be booked online at

"We have patients in hospitals that need blood," Eberts said. "It's going to help somebody somewhere."

How to help

Hope for Haiti

See to donate money or look at the critical supply list. You also can call 239-434-7183.

One Blood

See to find a donation center near you. You must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds to donate.


See for donation information. UNICEF estimated it has to spend at least $5 million to meet the most pressing needs of the about 500,000 children affected in the southern region of Haiti.

Red Cross

See or download the emergency app for information about evacuation efforts in the United States. You can make a donation by going to the website, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to make a $10 donation. The Red Cross opened nearly 200 shelters in three states, including 133 in Florida, according to a news release.

Catholic Relief Services

See to make a donation to help the group distribute blankets, kitchen and hygiene kits and other emergency supplies as needed, as well as monitor potential outbreaks of cholera and other diseases